Council won't give way to stop signs

DESPITE an accident victim's emotional plea for stop signs to be installed on some Emerald roads, the Central Highlands council will not give way.

The woman's letter, which prompted a review to overturn two previous refusals for traffic signage on a stretch of east-west roads near the CBD, asked why the council had failed to ensure driver safety by installing stop or give way signs at the intersection of Ruby and Yamala streets.

"In my accident the bulk of the damage was vehicular, but my concern is this could easily have resulted in either death or disability, especially if I had a passenger," the woman penned after her collision on September 21 which resulted in minor injuries.

"Will the next accident victims at this intersection be as lucky to only lose their cars?"

But it all fell on deaf ears, as a recommendation to call for a qualified expert to develop a traffic management plan for the area bordered by Clermont, Loch and Opal streets and Hospital Rd, was adopted at last Monday's meeting.

Civil operations general manager Bill Turner argued signage was a cost effective and "very quick and easy way" to way to implement traffic controls.

When roundabouts were suggested, Mr Turner commented they would improve the situation, but were not the "absolute ideal", expensive and a 20-year solution.

Despite anecdotal reports of regular crashes at the intersection, they were not supported by police statistics.

"Honestly, the north-south streets are definitely carrying all the traffic and accidents are happening not because of that north-south traffic speeding, but from traffic coming in from side streets that are not giving way," Mr Turner said.

"…it's driver error that is the cause of the accidents."

Deputy Mayor Paul Bell was adamant signage was not going to improve driver behaviour, particularly what he termed 'rat racing' to avoid nearby traffic lights.

"I don't think stop signs are going to help one iota," he said.

"We're not going to put signs there to make people think it's safer.

"I don't think by putting stop signs there you're going to fix a thing except police will ticket some poor bugger in an accident."

In his report, Mr Turner acknowledged police had witnessed several close calls at the problem intersections.

He questioned why so many accidents go unreported as statistics showed there was one injury incident at the Yamala/Ruby intersection in 2009, and none in 2010.

"Police have witnessed numerous near misses and the feedback they continually receive from motorists they talked to is they view the north/south roads as through streets, and the east/west streets are give way roads," Mr Turner said.

"Other contributing factors could be centre street trees and centre parking."

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